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Stagecoach Mary

The Toledo Blade

NEHGS and African-American Genealogy

Three regional organizations form partnership to highlight importance of African American family history

Boston, MA – February 9, 2010 – The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced a new collaboration that brings together three Boston-area organizations dedicated to the research, understanding, and education of African American family history. NEHGS, along with the Museum of African American History (MAAH) and the New England Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS-NE), are bringing together their unique resources and expertise to bridge what has typically been viewed as a gap in the connection between African American family stories and the rich New England regional history.

To kick off the initiative, NEHGS launched www.AfricanAmericanAncestors.org, a web portal designed to assist those conducting research with ties to the African American community around New England.  The portal includes resources, content, and articles assisting with African American family history research. Nearly 100 people were in attendance for the launch, including Tony Burroughs, author of “Black Roots,” MAAH director Beverly Morgan-Welch, AAHGS-NE president Leona Martin, and APG Vice President Kenyatta Berry.

D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, said, “We are delighted to have such an incredible opportunity to work with these wonderful partners. It will allow us all to showcase the tremendous collection of resources, materials, and expertise we each have for African American research. Ultimately, we hope family historians of all levels will have greater access and understanding of their family and its place in New England history.”

In the coming months, the three organizations will plan new initiatives, programs, education opportunities, and other special events designed to highlight the unique areas of expertise for each group while providing access to content, tools, and resources.

NEHGS, founded in 1845, is one of the country’s leading resources for genealogy and family history research. MAAH is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving, and interpreting the contributions of African Americans. Working together with AAHGS New England, the organizations will begin collaborating on programs, events, lectures, exhibits, and other ways that help bring family and history together in ways that haven’t been examined before.

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About NEHGS Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country’s leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy.

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Family Tree DNA Family Finder

Houston, TX – February 16, 2010 – Family Tree DNA, the pioneer and largest DNA testing company for genealogy purposes, is launching today their newest test – named Family Finder – which will allow connecting with family members across all ancestral lines. “This is the most exciting genetic genealogy breakthrough since the company launched its Y-DNA test, which uncovers relatives in the direct paternal line”, says Bennett Greenspan, founder and CEO of Family Tree DNA. Initially available to current Family Tree DNA members, Family Finder will be offered to the general public in mid-March.

While the Y-DNA matches men with a specific paternal line and the mtDNA finds potential relatives only along the maternal line, Family Finder can look for close relationships along all ancestral lines. Anyone, regardless of their gender, may now confidently match to male and female cousins from any of their family lines in the past five generations. The science – linked blocks of DNA across the 22 autosomal chromosomes are matched between two people. Based on this concept, Family Tree DNA bioinformatics team has worked extensively to develop the calculations that would yield the closeness of the relationship.

The possibilities to find matches abound: grandparents, aunts and uncles; half siblings; first, second, third and fourth cousins; and, more tentatively, fifth cousins.

Unlike other companies that offer autosomal testing for relationship purposes, the Family Tree DNA “Family Finder” focuses on the genealogy of the test takers: matching contact names and email addresses are readily available for easy communication, and special tools have been developed to assist in the genealogy and matching process.

About Family Tree DNA

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes, something that had previously been available only for academic and scientific research. Almost a decade later, the Houston-based company has a database with over 280,000 individual records – the largest DNA database in genetic genealogy, and a number that makes Family Tree DNA the prime source for anyone researching recent and distant family ties. In 2006 Family Tree DNA established a state of the art Genomics Research Center at its headquarters in Houston, Texas, where it currently performs R&D and processes over 200 advanced types of DNA tests for its customers.

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